The sun-soaked summer wedding season is upon us. As bridal businesses know too well, with summer weddings, come lawsuits.
For a business owner who wants to avoid donning the other kind of wedding suit, it's crucial to have clients say "I do" to clear and thorough wedding contracts.
If you're working a summer wedding, here are a few ways not to get sued:
- Photographers. Spell out in the contract what images are required. Otherwise you might end up like the wedding photographer who got sued for leaving the wedding early and failing to snap shots of the last dance and the bouquet toss. You'll also want to discuss the extent of any editing and airbrushing of the images. Also, think twice before publicly posting wedding party photos to your online portfolio that might be embarrassing for your clients and their guests (y'know, the ones taken during the Journey fist-pumping part of the night).
- Wedding dressmakers and tailors. Wedding dress fittings and alterations are tricky, but every dressmaker and tailor should have an emergency plan in case a wedding fashion faux pas happens, like a faulty zipper. If not, you could lose a lawsuit for ruining the bride's dress and her "special day," reports Business Insider.
- Wedding planners. If you're a wedding planner, make sure to have clearly stated clauses in the contract on the key elements of a wedding like invitations, flowers, catering, music, and the wedding cake. Get painfully specific on the nitty-gritty details of everything. When you make promises of a package deal with a certain vision and don't deliver, your clients' fairytale wedding might end in a lawsuit against you.
- Venue owners. If you lease space to couples who want to get hitched in a scenic spot like a Hawaiian beach or an enchanting forest, make sure you have the necessary permits for the wedding. As we learned from a Facebook founder, this is particularly the case for businesses with land in areas with strict conservation regulations. Wedding venue owners, of course, should always be careful about premises liability, too.
- Gay clients. While federal law does not specifically prohibit businesses from refusing to serve same-sex couples on the basis of their sexual orientation, many states have enacted their own public accommodation laws which prohibit private businesses from discriminating against gay couples. This includes wedding caterers and florists.
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